Istanbul, August 12 : Skeletons of Stone Age humans, more than 8,000 years old, have been unearthed during tube tunnel excavations in Istanbul, Turkey, which shed light on prehistoric periods of the city.
According to a report in Turkish Daily News, the skeletons were found in four prehistoric graves recently unearthed at the Marmaray tunnel excavation site in the Yenikapi district of Istanbul.
"These graves reveal Istanbul used to be home to some of the earliest types of settlements during the Stone Age when people migrated from Anatolia to the European continent," said Mehmet Ozdogan, professor of prehistory at Istanbul University.
"They also show that the Marmara Sea used to be a small and shallow water in ancient times," he added.
Ozdogan said that the graves, two of which were smaller than the others, might date back to between 6,400 B.C. and 6,200 B.C.
The human skeletons were the oldest skeletons unearthed so far during the Marmaray project, which will be the first underwater tube to connect Europe and Asia beneath the Bosporus.
The approximately 150 skeletons found already date back to the Byzantium period.
According to Ozdogan, the site was plastered and the Stone Age skeletons have been moved to the Istanbul Archeology Museum.
"Particularly the excavations carried out in the Fikirtepe district have yielded fruitful results," he said.
Other than skeletons, the digs have revealed 32 sunken ships dating back to the seventh and 11th centuries. The sunken ships have been conserved at the Istanbul University and the Underwater Research Institute in Bodrum.
The Marmaray excavations have also revealed remnants of some walls, which are thought to be the first city walls of Istanbul. Also, an ancient harbor has been unearthed together with some nine skulls.
About 500 pieces taken from the relics unearthed during the Marmaray excavations were exhibited at the Istanbul Archeology Museum.